Communities across the nation are gearing up for the upcoming fifth round of the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) process. The process, authorized by Congress and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense, is an evaluation of current military installations in order to “reorganize its (DOD) installation infrastructure to more efficiently and effectively support its (DOD) forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”

In other words, a process for recommending closure and/or realignment of operational military bases.

In the last four rounds (1988, 1991, 1993, 1995), California took the brunt of the closure/realignment load (24 out of 97). The next nearest state was Texas with only 7 closures/realignments. Thus, as expected, California communities are fearing the worse come 2005.

The Pentagon wants to shutter a quarter of the nation’s 425 military bases during the BRAC process. California, which has 61 military bases, got hammered during four previous base-closure rounds.

Riverside Press-Enterprise – November 17, 2004

Locally, city and county officials are hoping the next year is not a repeat of past BRAC recommendations. It’s estimated the last four rounds — which included the closures of Norton and George air bases in San Bernardino County and the realignment of March Air Force Base in Riverside County — cost the Inland area nearly 37,000 jobs and $3.9 billion in economic activity. All three bases are still in the painfully slow throes of redevelopment and/or economic privatization (with efforts at March involving the downsized, but still-present military operations).

March Air Reserve Base supporters admit landing cargo giant DHL won’t alone keep the 86-year-old installation off-limits when Pentagon policymakers determine which military bases to close or downsize next year.

Military importance is paramount to Department of Defense strategists.

But if opponents manage to shoot down efforts to lure a deep-pocketed civilian partner like DHL to March, the reverberations will reach Washington, D.C., and send an unmistakable message: The Air Force isn’t welcome anymore.

Riverside Press-Enterprise – September 21, 2004

Yet, the state of California has been slow to react, with slow-moving and disjointed efforts at retention — though, Gov. Schwarzenegger is working to fix this — all the while other states and regions are positioning themselves to better siphon off any and all of California’s potential closures. In fact, some states have even passed retention taxes/subsidies in order to better position their own installations (something California has yet to do, let alone show a willingness to do so).


  • Los Angeles Times – The Race to Steal Bases Heats Up (Nov. 27)
  • Riverside Press-Enterprise – Irwin: Training center plays key war role (Nov. 29) | California: Base closure team’s leader tied to area (Nov. 17) | Fallbrook: ‘It’s a small base with a big mission’ (Oct. 25) | March: DHL supporters fear objections could land base on closure list (Sept. 21) | Miramar: Marine air base on edge (Aug. 9)
  • U.S. Department of Defense – BRAC
  • – The battle for DHL (Sept. 27)

Sources: Los Angeles Times (LAT-20041127), Riverside Press-Enterprise (PE-20040809, PE-20040921, PE-20041025, PE-20041117, PE-20041129)

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added newspaper citation/insert; added minor context/clarification; removed outdated links to newspaper articles and BRAC.

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